Annie Lane: Hard to listen to friend’s complaints

Published 6:30 am Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Dear Annie: My good friend, who happens to be in her 40s, moved back in with her parents over five years ago because of her health and for financial reasons. Her parents have allowed her to live with them and don’t require her to pay rent.

My friend is constantly complaining about her mother. She makes her mom out to be one of the worst moms ever. She feels her mom isn’t very nice to her and that her mom finds fault in everything that she does. This gets hard to listen to every time we’re together.

Her parents are in their late 70s and early 80s. Perhaps her mom just wants to enjoy being retired together with her husband— to not have to take care of, or tiptoe around, a daughter who doesn’t appreciate what she has done for her.

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I would love to say these things to my friend, but I am afraid she won’t take it well from me. I really think she would have a better relationship with her mom if she moved out. What do you think?

— Concerned Friend

Dear Concerned Friend: You are probably correct that some distance between your adult friend and her mother might be a good thing for their relationship. If she is really a good friend, and you are concerned about her unhappiness, then suggest that she move out. In the end, it is up to your friend and her mother to communicate better and try and live in peace.

However, you do not have to allow her to complain about her mom every time you are together. Next time you are with her and she starts to share negative commentary about her mom, let her know that you appreciate her being open with but you’re wanting to talk about more positive topics. Focusing on the positive doesn’t discount the difficult, though it can remind us of the good.

You don’t need to stay in these toxic conversations. The best thing you can do is be patient with your friend, but don’t let her dump all of her negativity onto you. And encourage her to seek the help of a professional. We all need to share our feelings, and a counselor or therapist can offer an empathetic ear.

• • •

Dear Annie: Online romance scammers are a real problem, and I have a few suggestions for how to detect them and how to deal with them.

Typically, they write sweet nothings and paint themselves as perfect. Some dead giveaways are that they don’t answer your questions, and they use poor grammar and punctuation in their typing. Their “sweet speeches” are probably copied and pasted over many times. Very often, they are from out of state or even out of the country.

If you are suspicious of someone on a dating site, then ask him to take a selfie and send it to you. He probably won’t do it. If he refuses, report him to the dating website. I’ve done this several times. He’ll be off the site tomorrow.

— Seen It Before

Dear Seen It Before: Thank you for your suggestions. I hope your insights will help others in similar situations.

“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book— featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette— is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to